What Are Best Water Parameter for Aquarium Snails

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

What Are Best Water Parameter for Aquarium Snails

If you’re a fan of keeping aquatic pets, you’ll know that maintaining the correct water conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of your pets.

Aquarium snails are no exception to this rule, and understanding the optimal water parameters for these creatures can help you keep them happy and healthy in your tank.

These parameters can vary depending on the species of snail you have in your tank, but in general, here are the recommended water parameters for most freshwater aquarium snails:

*Copper: Copper is a common ingredient in some fish medications, such as those used to treat parasitic infections like ich, but harmful to freshwater aquarium snails and shrimp. So, treat your fish in a hospital tank instead of the main aquarium to keep your critters safe.

*Chlorine: Municipal water supplies use chlorine to clean tap water which is harmful to aquarium fish, snails, and shrimp in excess amounts. Concentrations of 1-2 ppm or higher can be lethal to most aquatic animals within hours. 0.1 parts per million (ppm) is better, although it can also stress your fish and snails over extended periods of exposure. The best chlorine level for snails is between 0.001 and 0.003.

What Kind of Water Do Aquarium Snails Need

The best water to use in a snail tank is bottled spring water. You can treat and condition tap water and use it instead, but that will take a little longer.

Distilled water is not best for snails or fish because it lacks the crucial minerals necessary for most aquatic animals to remain healthy.

Can Aquarium Snails Live in Tap Water

You can use tap water in your snail tank, but I recommend looking up what your local water supplier uses to purify it. Mostly, it will be chlorine or chloramines.

Chlorine is easy to remove, but chloramine can be challenging, and you are better-off using bottled spring water instead.

To remove chlorine from water for use in your snail or fish tank, let it sit in the sun for 24 hours for the chemical to evaporate. Raising the temperature of the water (heating) will help evaporate the chlorine faster.

You can also treat chlorine and chloramine with a dechlorimator, such as Seachem prime or Aquasafe plus.

That said…

Some tap water cannot be made safe for snails. Chlorine and chloramines are ok because you can remove them, but if there are other compounds in the water, especially traces of copper or heavy metals, you cannot use that tap water in a snail tank.

Do Snails Need Conditioned Water

Aquarium snails do not need conditoner if you use bottled-spring water to fill your tank. You will only need conditioner when using tap water for your snail aquarium.

However, note that not all conditioners are safe for snails. I recommend using Seachem prime and Aquasafe because they are tested and snail-safe.

Are Aquarium Snails Sensitive to Water Parameters

Aquarium snails are generally sensitive to water parameters, and maintaining appropriate water quality is necessary for their health and well-being. The specific water parameters important for snails depend on the species, but pH, temperature, ammonia and nitrite levels, chlorine, and coppers will affect all species.

Are Aquarium Snails Sensitive to Ammonia (+ Nitrites, Nitrates)

Freshwater aquarium nails are more sensitive to ammonia than fish and require the levels to remain at 0 ppm. They are able to tolerate up to 0.25 ppm, but not for an extended period.

Nitrites levels in the tank, like ammonia, should remain between 0 and o.25 ppm, but nitrates are less harmful, and any amount below 15 ppm is safe for most aquarium snail species.


You’ll note that snails, on their own, do not produce too much waste, but when kept with fish, the waste is a lot, especially if there isn’t much algae or leftover fish food. You are more likely to experience ammonia spikes.

So how do you know a snail has ammonia poisoning?


A snail fully extended and resting on the rear of its shell all the time and not moving is a symptom of ammonia poisoning. However, osmotic shock and ammonia stress signs are similar, so do a water test to help determine if ammonia is the issue.

A long drip acclimation will bring your fish back to health if symptoms are from osmotic shock.

Another sign of ammonia damage on your aquarium snail is a pale, black, chipped shell and a pale body, including on the face and bottom.

Are Aquarium Snails Sensitive to Copper

You should never use copper-based medication to treat your fish when you have snails, shrimp, and other aquarium inverts.

Copper in a fish tank may not be toxic to fish but is deadly to inverts. The science behind copper toxicity to snails is that all inverts have Hemocyanin instead of Haemoglobin for oxygen transport.

Ideally, copper toxicity is similar to iron toxicity in humans and other animals that use hemoglobin to transport oxygen.

Snails and other aquarium inverts need a certain amount of copper as essential nutrition but are not biologically prepared for overabundance, as would be in aquarium water when you use copper-based fish medication.

Are Aquarium Snails Sensitive to Water Changes

Aquarium snails are not overly sensitive to partial water changes, so you do not need to take them out of the tank while performing them. However, make sure the pH and temperature of the new water have the same parameter as the water you already have in your tank because fish and inverts are sensitive to fluctuations.

Snails in your fish tank can also survive a large water change if you do not take too long to add new water to your aquarium.

Well, that all for this post.

See you in the next one🐠🐟.

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